LIFE + FILM PHOTOGRAPHY WITH AUSTIN MAHONE
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
GUSTO35 ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
WRITTEN BY: ALEC WELSH
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Austin's Father passed away when he was just two years old. From there it was just his mother and himself, living from place to place. Although she tried, his mother could never find someone who could fill that father role. "It always ended up being not the right fit for us". Austin is grateful for his Grandfather though, who he identifies as that figure. "I didn't have too many friends, I was always real quiet and kept to myself".
When he was thirteen he started singing for fun but when it came to school, "I knew it wasn't for me" - " “I wanted to do something different with my life, be a leader, have all of the creative control” That's when he made the decision to make a Youtube channel when the platform was just beginning. It wasn't much, just him and a few close homies playing basketball or having a good time, but one of his peers convinced him to post a video of him singing. That ended getting more likes than anything they had posted prior, by a lot.
"I wanna do some creative shit that's going to inspire the youth and my friends" That's when they created a YouTube channel of Austin covering songs. Less than two years later, "Everyday I was on my grind, I just stopped doing school". By this time, Austin had dropped out and was getting homeschooled by his Grandparents. "It was fun because I enjoyed seeing the progress".
Although it wasn't always effortless when it came to believing in himself - "In the beginning I knew I didn’t have the best voice and I only played a few instruments on a real basic level, but I loved coming up with new ideas and watching them develop. I started building a small army of fans". That's when girls started flying him out to different states to perform at their birthday parties. His first show was in San Antonio for 400 people when he was just 15 years old. "It just started getting really big, really quick".
That's when he moved to Miami, where he's located currently. "We're on fire now" and he was not wrong, at this point he was touring with Taylor Swift. "I just went from a kid that didn't really know what he was doing, didn't really have the most skill, but I just dove in head first and just started rolling". His love for creativity as a whole is eternal, constantly growing and developing him.
One day, a good friend gave a 35mm film point and shoot camera to him. "Xavi [from Gusto35] gave it to me, I didn't really know what it was about - Once he gave me that camera and put the power in my hands I realized, Life is like a roll.. It’s your choice which shots you take, so make them count. Don’t worry about if you got the right angle or not... Have fun, trust your eye, and live in the moment. Film is art and there are no wrong answers or do overs. It just is what it is... beautiful the way you saw it”.
He learned very quickly not to waste any stills, and to "keep it moving". A fan of the Miami lifestyle, Austin takes one every where he goes. "Damn that night was so crazy, you get the roll back and it's like 'so that’s what we did?'"
Austin's gotten so many camera's from his family, and boughten himself so many others but "Nothing beats a point and shoot". And as for his future with film, "I'm in a situation right now where I'm finally free to create what I want, and it has never felt better".